Sunday, August 16, 2015

RIP Julian, You Did Your Part  (H80thBDSS!) The Economy:  (3 Million Jobs Lost!)  "U.S. Wages Have Fallen EVERY Quarter of the 'Recovery'" (Fukushima Burning)  Who Will Say They're Sorry?  (Is It Finally Gonna Be Al?)

Realistically, this election might be the last opportunity to elect a climate president — a true leader on this issue, a leader with heft. . . . We need President Gore, and it’s almost mandatory.

Julian Bond, a US civil rights activist and longtime chair of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(NAACP), has died aged 75. . . . As a Morehouse College student, Bond helped found the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and as its communications director he was on the front line of protests that led to landmark civil rights laws. . . . The Southern Poverty Law Center called Bond a visionary and tireless champion for civil and human rights. “With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice,” the center’s co-founder, Morris Dees, said.

“He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognised the common humanity in us all,” Dees said.

A deep loss to the nation's consciousness.

I remember wanting to join SNCC because of Julian's example. It never failed to inspire me.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during his race against (Alfred) Landon, “It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them.”

Funny how 80 years from the passing of the perfectly working system of Social Security, it still has to be "defended" from its lying critics, isn't it (and a fine way to wish it Happy 80th Birthday!)?

Or is it? (And, yes, it should have been improved to embrace much more of the populace in its coverage and taxation, but it's still the best we've got.)

Polls have consistently shown that Americans are extremely pleased with Social Security, which provides benefits are costs far below those in the private sector. But, as the program celebrates its 80th birthday today, Republicans are still working to erode the public’s trust in it, just as they did when GOP presidential candidate Alf Landon called it “a fraud on the workingman” in 1936 and said “the saving it forces on our workers is a cruel hoax.”

To campaign against Social Security is to court political suicide. (It certainly didn’t help Alf Landon; he was trounced.) It therefore becomes imperative to convince voters instead that the program is unreliable. That’s the Republican strategy.

Elements of the strategy include:

Insist that the program’s $2.8 trillion trust fund isn’t real, that it consists of “only IOUs” – a description that could just as easily be applied to the Treasury bonds held by billionaires and Wall Street banks, or any other legally executed instrument of debt.

Exaggerate minor imbalances between the retirement and disability funds – funds which many experts believe should have been merged long ago – in order to convince voters that one or both of them is “running out of money,” despite its $2.8 trillion size. This gamesmanship extracts a very real human cost.)

Repeatedly describe Social Security as “going broke,” despite its massive cash flow. Exaggerate relatively minor future shortfalls, without mentioning that they could easily be fixed – and benefits expanded – if millionaires and billionaires were willing to pay into the program at the same rates as middle-class Americans.

Starve Social Security’s administrative budget, even though that budget comes out of Social Security funds and not general revenues, just as millions of baby boomers claim retirement benefits for the first time. Use any resulting delays or difficulties to claim that “government isn’t as efficient as the private sector,” despite the fact that Social Security is run much more cost-effectively than any private corporation in the same general line of business.

. . . Why do they do it? Part of the objection is clearly ideological. They don’t want to admit that there are some things that government simply does better than the private sector. That helps explain the overheated rhetoric from the Fox set.

. . . But one cannot discount the self-interest of the billionaires who serve as the patrons of right-wing politicians and (at times) pundits. Many of them don’t want to pay into the Social Security system at the same rate as middle-class Americans and the working poor. It is in their self interest, therefore, to convince voters that Social Security contributes to a larger federal deficit (it doesn’t, because it’s fully self-financed) and that it’s “going broke.” That way, they hope, voters will insist on cuts in order to “preserve the program for future generations.”

. . . At least 14 of the 17 Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have come out for Social Security cuts in some form. . . . Republicans also oppose expanding Social Security’s benefits, although polls show overwhelming support for the idea among voters across the political spectrum. But the idea has gained ground among Democrats. Of the three major Democratic candidates for president, only Hillary Clinton has yet to indicate support for a benefit increase. (This week she appeared to move closer to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan to increase taxes for very high earners, however, an idea she opposed in 2008.)

That’s a major shift from recent decades, during which “centrist” Democrats from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama indicated their support for benefit cuts – a gesture that was too often taken as a sign of “maturity” or “realism” in the money-fueled Beltway culture.

The shift in Democratic rhetoric seems to reflect a growing awareness of the electorate’s deep satisfaction with Social Security, and its deep commitment to the program’s survival and expansion. It also highlights the extent to which, on this historic anniversary, Republicans are out of step with both history and the public mood when it comes to Social Security.
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Do you think that just because you don't hear about it on the "news," that it's not important?

Probably more so, friends.

Fukushima Update:  "Your Radiation This Week, Aug 8 to Aug 15, 2015"

It is not unheard for officials to think they will hurt business or tourism if they tell the truth so they Lie about the Cesium 137/134 CPM level, kinda like the doofus Mayor in the 1975 movie Jaws:

Isotope detectors:  If you have a lot of money you can buy an Isotope detector that will tell you the name of isotopes it is tuned to detect. They are excellent tools for determining specific Rad elements. More power to you if you can afford one, or a group of you can pony up the Bucks to buy one. In this case knowledge is power. That kind of power can only be bought. Without it, you have what the Pro-Nukers laughingly refer to in our lives as “A shortened life span.” That means the Pro-nukers are joyfully killing people these 70 years now and have no intention of stopping. I mean, after all, they get rich slaughtering us. Have a wonderful radioactive weekend and remember to Dodge the Rads, it’s dangerous out there!"

. . .

"During that March 13 phone call, Cleveland wrote, Troy Mueller — the deputy administrator for naval reactors at the US Department of Energy — said the radiation was the equivalent of “about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.” “So it's much greater than what we had thought,” Mueller reportedly warned other American officials after taking samples on the Reagan. “We didn't think we would detect anything at 100 miles.” After Mueller made that remark, according to Cleveland’s transcript, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman asked him if those levels were “significantly higher than anything you would have expected.” He responded "Yes." When Poneman later asked Mueller, “how do the levels detected compare with what is permissible,” Mueller said those on the scene could suffer irreversible harm from the radiation within hours.

“If it were a member of the general public, it would take - well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit,” he said. At that point, Mueller added, “it’s a thyroid dose issue.” If people are exposed to levels beyond the Protective Action Guideline threshold released by the Energy Department, Cleveland acknowledged in his report, radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands."


So within 10 hours of exposure to 30 times the normal background radiation level "radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands."

Find the nearest location to you in the listing above.

10 hours? 30 times normal exposure?

Remember this is 24 hour(s) a day, 7 days a week exposure for over 4 years now.

Draw your own conclusions...

. . . Officials: “Trillions of becquerels of radioactive material still flowing into sea” at Fukushima; Map shows nuclear waste coming up from bottom of ocean far offshore; Japan TV Journalist: “Contaminated seawater will circulate around globe… disaster like a huge cloth expanding everyday.” (VIDEO)

Giant whales found dead up and down Pacific NW coast, scientists ‘baffled’ over surge; 25+ carcasses reported in past month; Gov’t: “Troubling… Definitely a pulse of deaths”; Experts: “Alarming spike… Exceptionally rare to see a dead humpback”; Concerns about unidentified pathogen (PHOTOS)

Die-off of birds all over Alaska beaches, floating in Pacific; “They seem to be starving”; Record-breaking spike in rescues, “such a dramatic increase”;Deformed and abnormal animals reported (PHOTOS & AUDIO)

Here's some other unimportant "news" we never get either, but don't start for the door as no one will believe you (unless they can read charts):

August 12, 2015

The Economy:  "U.S. Wages Have Fallen EVERY Quarter of the 'Recovery'"

by Jeff Nielson

"For 6 ½ long years, we have been bombarded with the mythology known as “the U.S. economic recovery” by the mainstream media. Exposing this fantasy is simple, since the gulf between myth and reality has grown to such absurd proportions. There is no better starting point than the farcical claim by Barack Obama that “10 million new jobs” have been created during this non-existent recovery. In fact, the U.S. government’s own numbers show that the total number of employed Americans has fallen by more than 3 million over that span, in spite of the population growth over those past 6 ½ years.

The chart above is now somewhat dated, as the St Louis Fed has deliberately changed the format of this chart in order to make it harder to reproduce. Updated:  the U.S. civilian participation rate has now fallen to a 36-year low, and as the chart clearly shows, it has fallen at a faster rate since the start of this mythical recovery.

The lie:  “10 million new jobs created”. The fact:  more than 3 million jobs lost. This is a reality-gap of 13 million jobs, or exactly 2 million jobs per year. The U.S. economy hasn’t been “creating” 1.5 million new jobs per year. It’s been losing roughly ½ million jobs every year of this fantasy-recovery.

Then we have the “heartbeat” of the U.S. economy, its velocity of money. A chart of this heartbeat shows that it has plummeted far lower than at any other time in the 56-year history of this data series. This doesn’t merely show a dying economy, it shows a dead economy.

As for the supposed “GDP growth” over this 6 ½ year span, falsifying this statistic requires nothing more than lying about the rate of inflation. Here again, the lie is obvious. The U.S. (and other Western governments) pretend that inflation is near-zero, while in the real world, food and housing prices have been soaring at the fastest rate in our lifetime over the past 10 – 15 years.

Then we have U.S. energy consumption. Again the picture is clear. Overall U.S. energy consumption peaked in 2007 and has been falling since then, while official gasoline consumption has been plummeting for several years. Growing economies use more energy. Shrinking economies use less energy. Case closed.

All this is old news to regular readers, however. What has been less easy to document in any sort of definitive way has been the fall in U.S. wages. The problem is that to express wages meaningfully, we must use “real dollars”, i.e., we must adjust these wages for inflation. With the U.S. government only providing nominal data about U.S. wages, and consistently lying about the actual inflation rate, we have lacked the data to make any conclusive statement.

A recent boast by the U.S. government/Corporate media (i.e., another false claim) has now provided us with a clearer picture here, going back to the beginning of this imaginary recovery. In trying to downplay the absence of any wage-growth in the U.S. in Q2 of this year, the propaganda machine made this claim: "…That is down from a 2.6 percent increase in the first quarter [of 2015], which was the biggest in 6 ½ years." [emphasis mine]

The claim is that nominal wages in the U.S. rose at the fastest rate “in 6 ½ years” in the first quarter of 2015, i.e., the highest rate during the entire pseudo-recovery. Now let’s discount that number with the (real) rate of inflation, in order to get a real-dollar number for U.S. wages.

A recent commentary pegged U.S. inflation at a conservative level of 12% per year. That number is substantially higher for the Working Poor (and poor), who now comprise the majority of nearly all Western societies.

Translating that to a quarterly number (i.e. dividing it by four), we get a quarterly inflation-rate in the U.S. of 3%- significantly higher than the supposed “growth” in wages of 2.6%.

Thus the U.S. government itself has now provided us with a definitive picture on U.S. wages. During Q1 of this year, the high-water mark for U.S. wage “growth” during the entire Recovery, U.S. wages were still falling. Ipso facto, U.S. wages have been falling every quarter of this recovery.

Now we begin to see the whole truth in the U.S. labor market, versus the absurd, official claim of lots of “new jobs” and “rising wages”. U.S. employment has been falling, not rising, every quarter, every year. U.S. wages have been falling, not rising, every quarter, every year. But that picture is still incomplete. The total number of hours worked by the Working Poor is also falling, and in 18 out of 20 of the U.S.’s industrial sectors, total number of hours worked is still lower than during the so-called Great Recession. This is also reflected in the fall in the percentage of full-time employees.

To summarize:  Since the beginning of the imaginary U.S. economic recovery, there are millions fewer Americans who are now employed. Their wages have been falling for every quarter of the “recovery”, and they are also working fewer hours.

Growing economies create more jobs, shrinking economies lose jobs. Strong economies have rising (real) wages, weak economies have falling wages. Once again we see the supposed U.S. recovery is pure mythology.

However, with respect to the destruction of the U.S. standard of living, to truly appreciate what has been done to the U.S. population (and the populations of nearly all of the Corrupt West), we must look at the picture over a much longer term.

In the 40 years before the beginning of this imaginary recovery, the wages of the Average American fell by roughly 50% (in real dollars).

Now the descent of the majority of the U.S. population to Third World status becomes crystal clear. From 1970 to the beginning of 2009 (i.e. the current “recovery”), U.S. wages fell roughly 50%. Then came the mythical Recovery, and U.S. wages have continued to fall, quarter after quarter after quarter.

The Great Recovery has been worse than the Great Recession which came before it. What do we call it when a nation experiences a “great recession”, and then the economy continues to crumble at an even faster rate after that, year after year?

We call it a Greater Depression.

Shrinking economy. Losing jobs. Falling wages. Declining energy consumption. No “heartbeat”.

Has anything been left out, in describing this U.S. economic Armageddon? Certainly. The U.S. government is obviously bankrupt. The U.S. dollar is obviously worthless. The U.S. economy has been run completely into the ground. When the current, assorted bubbles are deliberately popped (almost certainly in 2016, or late-2015), and Old-Man Buffett goes on a massive shopping spree with the $60+ billion he is now currently hoarding, there will be nothing left but economic rubble. And Milton Friedman will be smiling, from (way) down in his final resting place."


“There's class warfare all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.”
- Warren Buffet


"Uncle Warren Strikes Again:  Kraft Heinz Cuts 2,500 Jobs"

“How many times do you have to get hit over the head until you figure out who's hitting you?”
- Harry S. Truman

Yes, we think of Julian Assange, Ed Snowden and Chelsea Manning's plight with empathy, but who remembers the guy already serving a long prison sentence (Jeffrey Sterling)? (You know, the black guy.)

'Where Are You?':  An Open Letter to American Civil Liberties Groups
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Ending with a whiz-bang finish . . . remember "Mad Magazine" and "Spy Vs. Spy" from the 60's?

The intellectual level of the discourse has abominably deproved.

Astoundingly so.

Spy Versus Spy (Trumped)?

In 1988, "Spy" magazine described Donald Trump as “a short-fingered vulgarian.” The founding editors of the magazine, Graydon Carter and Kurt Andersen, recognized Trump for what he was:  the id of New York City, writ large — a bombastic, self-aggrandizing, un–self-aware bully, with a curious relationship to the truth about his supposed wealth and business acumen. He wasn’t so much a Macy’s balloon, ripe for the targeting, as he was the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from "Ghostbusters," stomping on everything in his gold-plated path.

It wasn’t pretty. But New York wasn’t all that pretty then, either. It had yet to become the sanitized city of hedge funders and money-in-flight Russian billionaires that it is now, where Trump is just another rich guy on the block—and not even the richest one, at that.

. . . Today, 27 years and a reality-TV show later, the rest of the world—or perhaps I should say the “thinking” part of the rest of the world—has come to recognize what we knew about Trump back then. Only instead of being the id of New York City, he’s become the dark, nasty id of America itself:  uncensored, unthinking, bullying, angry, forever unapologetic, and vaguely unhinged.

From his racist remarks about immigrants to his sexist attack on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, to the lawsuits he brings or threatens to bring with tiresome regularity (then "Spy," now, Univision for attempting to “suppress his freedom of speech” by dropping his Miss U.S.A. and Miss Universe beauty pageants, along with the two celebrity chefs who no longer wish to be associated with him), none of it surprises us. He’s become the Ugly American, writ large, and draped in cheap superlatives:  a great American, with a great plan, who will restore our great and glorious gold-plated future. . . . So long as you don’t criticize him, disagree with him, or ask too many questions.

. . . He’s O.J. Simpson in the Ford Bronco, an unfolding disaster that you can’t quite take your eyes away from, as you wait for him to drive off the road and self-immolate.

. . . Short-fingered or not, on so many, many levels, the presidency is beyond his grasp.

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